Physio for my what?!

I am not even being a little dramatic when I say going to Cura Physical Therapies changed my life.

 

First off, here are some of the personal details.  I had been having painful, feel like my cervix was being stabbed painful, sex for a couple of years before I got pregnant with my first baby.  Actually that really is why we started having kids; I had my IUD removed because I thought it must be the cause of my pain, and then whoops, a few months later, we were having a baby. 

 

I was told that the pain would decrease after I had my baby.  Only it didn’t.  I had a second baby, and the pain was worse.   On top of that I had a lot of lower back pain and hip tightness.  After both of my first two births, I ended up with debilitating back pain that would land me flat on my back for days.  It is really, really hard to take care of a toddler and a baby when you can hardly stand up!  If I exercised, I would suffer from painful cramps in my whole abdominal area for hours or even days afterwards.

 

I had learned the value of a pelvic health physiotherapist through the MuTu System (the core and pelvic floor program that I used (and love) to strengthen and retrain my body after birth).  I finally decided to give it a shot and booked my appointment at Cura Physical Therapies

 

I will never forget that first appointment.  I was nervous, for sure.  Physio for my vagina?  My physiotherapist put me at east right away.  I truly felt cared for.  None of my symptoms or questions were brushed aside.  She asked some questions about why I had come in, what some of my symptoms were and what my goals were in terms of life, exercise and sex.  She ended by saying “it is really important to me that you have great pain free sex and can exercise how you want to.”  I knew I was in the right place.

 

Within minutes, she had identified the source of my problems.  My pelvic floor was extremely tight.  I had thought that I was doing it right by doing all the kegals during my pregnancies and early postpartum stage.  Turns out I had missed the biggest piece; I couldn’t relax my pelvic floor at all.  So this super tight muscle group was full of tension and trigger points, and not able to do anything well as a result (ex. prevent leaking of urine while running, sneezing, or jumping).  Most of us have been told over and over that if we are having issues after babies, we must need more kegals.  So much is missing in that prescription, and my treatment at Cura filled in the holes for me.

 

Over the next few months, my physiotherapist helped me to mobilize my tailbone, address imbalances in my feet and identify some facia triggered pain along the whole backside of my body.  I am still unraveling a few spots of tension in my pelvic floor and hips, but I can say with 100% certainty that my back, hips and pelvic region all feel better than they have in years.  I don’t wake up with an aching back or go to bed with sore joints after a long day of mom-ing.  I know how to relax my pelvic floor and I can feel the tension as it builds.  I also know how to manage most of the pain on my own before it becomes a problem, which has been really empowering for me. 

If you don’t feel amazing in your body, you deserve to.  The brilliant professionals at Cura are an amazing resource to get you feeling the way you want to feel.  At Cura, patients are valued and they will work hard to learn your story.  They specialize in urinary leakage, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain, post pelvic surgery, chronic constipation, overactive bladder, sexual pain and abdominal pain.  If you are experiencing any symptoms or discomfort, do yourself a favour and book in today.  I hope it changes your life as it has mine!

 

More in 2017

A few days into 2017, how are your resolutions going?  Did you make any?

 

A few things about that:

 

1) Only pick 1 thing.  Research has shown us again and again that we are most likely to meet our goals if we only change one thing at a time.  If you are trying to change more, it is a near guarantee that you will not be able to sustain the change.

 

2) Be specific.  Ex.  “I want to get in shape in 2017” is something I have heard from a lot of people.  But what does that even mean? Are you going to take up running?  Yoga?  Strength training?  Do you want to strengthen your core?  Change the way you look?  Those are all very different things that require very different strategies to be successful.

 

3) Lastly, and more importantly, WHY do you want to achieve your goal?  Take some time to reflect on this; is your goal to be less?  So many times, in so many ways, the fitness/diet/beauty industry is telling women to be less.

 

For example:

 

Don’t celebrate the gift and profound accomplishment of conceiving, growing, birthing and raising your child(ren), instead do whatever you can to weigh less and be smaller.  The baby weight should be lost (sometimes at all costs). 

 

Instead of eating delicious food with lots of vegetables for their many nutrients, healing properties and ability to nourish your body, eat a plain, simple salad because there are less calories. 

 

Take up less space. 

 

Have less needs. 

 

Less opinions.  Less demands.

 

Less, less, less. 

 

Instead of less, I want the women around me to be more.

 

Spend less time thinking about food and more time thinking about how you can use your gifts.

 

Less energy wishing your body could be different and more energy learning your body so you can love it.  

 

Less late nights taking care of everyone else and more sleep and rest for you.

 

Less exercise to burn calories and more exercise to give yourself strength and confidence.

 

More adventures, more creating, more love, more laughter. 

 

You have so much more to offer the world, but you have to let go of being less to do it. 

 

I am so looking forward to 2017 because I plan on spending MORE time learning about myself and what I love and less time worrying about the stuff that I don’t.  Sign up here to stay in the loop with Core Love and please let me know what you have planned for 2017.  I can't wait to see what the amazing women around me accomplish this year!

 find out more at www.corelove.ca

find out more at www.corelove.ca

What is the heck is MuTu® and why do I want you to know about it?

As I write this, I have just returned from an amazing week working on my MuTu ProTM certification.  I am so inspired and bursting with knowledge to share with all of the women I work with, so I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you more about what MuTu® is and why I love it.

 Celebrating my certification with champagne!

Celebrating my certification with champagne!

 

What is it?

 

MuTu is a system to help you learn about your postpartum body and what kind of movement will be safe and effective in helping you heal and recover from pregnancy and birth.  The focus is on healing the core and pelvic floor and having a body that functions well and feels good

The system is designed to fit into a busy mom’s life, so there are easy to follow videos for core and more intensive workouts, as well as information on the ‘why’ behind the movements and changes you are being asked to make.  It is set up as a 12-week program, but you are reminded to move on from week to week only when you and your body are ready. 

MuTu is a great program to reconnect with your core whether you are pregnant, had babies recently or many years ago.  If you are looking to get back into more “hardcore” activities like running, boot camp, climbing, lifting, skating etc. MuTu can help you get the strong and functional core you need to do that.   

Why do I love it?

There is SO much information on the internet about how to get your body back after baby and diastasis recti, the core and the pelvic floor are being discussed a lot more (finally!!!).  The problem is wading through to find out what information is correct, what isn’t, who is truly an expert, who isn’t.  It is overwhelming to say the least. 

I have been studying and teaching about the human body for 15 years and specifically postpartum bodies for 5 years.  I love that the MuTu System puts the latest research and science into an easy to understand format that is simple to follow.  That doesn’t mean it is easy- gentle exercise that is safe for your core and pelvic floor doesn’t necessarily mean it is easy.  In fact most of my clients are often surprised by how hard gentle exercises can be once they learn how to do them right.    

Mostly I love the MuTu System because it isn’t about being a ‘Hot Mama’ or “Sexy Mom”.  Being sexy is highly individual and something only YOU are in charge of.  And it sure as h*ll has a lot more to do with who you are and how you feel about yourself than how your stomach looks.  MuTu is about giving you the knowledge about your body that you need to recover and feel good in your own skin.  It is all about empowering YOU to be the one in charge of your own body.  And if there is anything I love as much (almost) as my family, peanut butter, and chocolate, it is empowered women. 

 

If you have any questions or need help with your own MuTu journey, you can ask me at info@corelove.ca or find me at www.corelove.ca.  Want more info and tips on healing your core and loving yourself to the core?  Follow me at Core Love Fitness on Facebook and Instagram

Go here for more on the MuTu System!

Getting back into exercise after baby- take care of your pelvic floor!

This article was originally published in YEG Fitness.  You can read it here

As many women are, I was eager to get back to exercise after my first child was born.  I attended my first mom and baby boot camp when my daughter was 5 weeks old.  There were burpees, sprints, push-ups, and planks.  My competitive nature was hooked.  I also started running and did a 10 km race on Mother’s Day, less than 4 months after giving birth. 

Looking back, it is no surprise that I leaked urine while exercising, had achy joints and painful sex, and suffered a pretty major back injury at 8 months postpartum. 

No one told me that exercise for a new mom should be any different. I didn’t know that all of my hard work running and attending boot camps was actually preventing my pelvic floor and core from being strong and effective. 

The core and pelvic floor

 Your core is so much more than your 'abs'

Your core is so much more than your 'abs'

Your core is not just your abs.  For a strong, well-functioning core, your abdominals, diaphragm, back and pelvic floor muscles all must be working synergistically.  For many new moms this is not the case, creating an increased load on the pelvic floor.  This often leads to incontinence, painful sex and/or prolapse of the pelvic organs. 

 The pelvic floor muscles support the internal organs as shown here.  

The pelvic floor muscles support the internal organs as shown here.  

 

Don't make the mistakes I did!  Learn about your post partum body and exercise to help heal so that years down the road you will still be strong, fit and feeling great.

Guidelines for exercise after baby

1) Wait to run

Walking is a great way to get moving and add cardiovascular exercise. Running creates downward pressure that the pelvic floor is not ready to handle in early postpartum (whether your delivery was vaginal or cesarean).  I don’t recommend running until 5-6 months postpartum, and that is only if there are not any issues in the core/pelvic floor.   

·      Add 10 minutes of outside walking (fresh air and sunshine help with mood and anxiety) most days, as soon as you feel up to it.  You can add a couple minutes every few days until you are walking 30ish minutes a day. 

2) Choose the right exercises

Begin core and pelvic floor strengthening as early as you feel up to it, but be sure to keep the pressure off the pelvic floor.  Sitting and lying exercises will be best in the early days/weeks.  Avoid crunches, sit-ups, v-sits, prone positions (push-ups and planks), jumping and holding exercises for an extended time (ex. wall-sit).

Here are three exercises to start with:

1.     Breathing for healing

 

With one hand on your lower ribs and one hand on your belly, take a deep inhale.  Feel your ribs, belly and pelvic floor all expand.  It may be hard to feel your pelvic floor at first, be patient.  The connection will return with practice.  Exhale and feel your ribs and belly contract while your pelvic floor lifts slightly.  Repeat 10 times, 1- 2 times a day.

 

2.     Heal Slides

Starting on your back (modify with pillows if needed) take a deep inhale.  Exhale and feel your pelvic floor gently lift towards your chest as you slide your heel and extend your leg.  Inhale, feeling your pelvic floor relax.  Exhale with a gentle pelvic floor lift and bring your knee back up.  Repeat on the other side.  Do 10ish repetitions on each side, 5-7 times a week. 

 

3.     Glute Bridges

Glute (bum) strength is key to core and pelvic floor health.  Start on your back with your heels close to your bum.  Exhale and feel your pelvic floor lift gently as your push through your heels and lift off the ground.  Only go as far as you can without tucking your tailbone under.  Inhale as you release your pelvis to the floor.  Do 10ish repetitions on each side, 5-7 times a week. 

I also recommend all women make an appointment with a women’s health physiotherapist after birth.  They can fully assess your pelvic floor muscles, screen for prolapse, and make sure you are doing a kegal correctly. 

Above all, rest and patience should be your top priorities.  Everyone is different, but the pelvic floor usually needs about 6 months to recover.

 

Congrats Mama, motherhood is one of the most amazing challenges you will ever face.  You are doing great!  

How I parent when people keep shooting each other.

Wow.  So much violence. So much hate.  So much hurt. 

 

Dallas shootings of police officers.  Philando Castile.  Alton Sterling.  Orlando Pulse Nightclub.  Stanford rape case. These incidents are only a hint of the hate and horror happening around the world. 

 

As a human, it is hard to hear this news.  Why are we doing this to each other?  How can someone be convinced that the right thing to do, that the solution to any problem, real or perceived, is to rape, beat and murder?

 

As a mother, I find this news even harder.  I can imagine, and almost feel, the pain (because I know I can’t truly comprehend) of the parents who have lost their children.  Lost because of hate and fear.   I truly cannot imagine the pain and devastation I would feel if my child had been one to carry out a hate crime.   

 

I know I can’t protect my children from the hate and fear in this world.  That is out of my control.  And that is scary.  Terrifying. 

 

As I was scrolling through the news, reading sad story after sad story, I saw this comic from Fowl Language Comics.  The perfect reminder I needed. 

 

 

Of all of the things that I want to teach my children, the most important is this:   

 

Every person is important.   EVERY PERSON.  You can’t become un-important by who you love, what you wear, where you live, who you pray to, the family you were born into, the colour of your skin.  You just can’t. 

 

And every person is as important as every other person.

 

So this is how I carry on with all of this cruelty in the world.  I focus on the important people in my home.  My children.  My husband.  Me. 

 

Did you catch that?  I didn’t leave out anyone.  My husband, my 5 year old, my 3 year old, my 6 month old, and me.  We all made the list. Children are amazing, and so important, because they are, after all, people. 

 

But guess what, Mama, SO. ARE. YOU.

 

You and your baby are JUST AS IMPORTANT.   

One is not more important than the other.

 

How do you raise children who won’t hate someone for their sexual orientation?  Gender? Race? Religion? Class?  Any other meaningless difference that humans hate each other over?

 

I believe that one way is to show your kids how important YOU are.  Make time for your workout.  Take your daily walk.  Take that bath.  SIT DOWN and eat healthy nourishing food with your family.  Do not make yourself less important than your family, because you aren’t.

 

You are a person and you can’t become un-important because you become a mom.  You just can’t. 

 

I have been training a mom of an 11-month old baby.  When we first met she was hardly eating all day, feeling exhausted by the afternoon and ravenous by the evening.  Yet her baby is eating homemade, nourishing food.  Her husband is coming home to healthy meals and taking delicious lunches to work and school. Her brother-in-law is staying in their home while attending school, also being well fed and cared for.  There is even a dedicated container of food just for the baby in the fridge that no one else eats from, to make sure he always has what he needs.  She is taking such good care of everyone in her house.  Except for her.   We have been working on this.  She is making time to sit down and eat, time to get away from the house (ALL BY HERSELF!) and time for a weekly workout session with me.  The difference is obvious.  She looks happier, stronger, and confident.  I am so proud of her and what she has done in a short time for herself and her family. 

 

I see women everywhere putting themselves last.  Their children wear the latest and greatest clothing while mom continues to feel uncomfortable in clothes that do not fit her ever changing body.  The kids are in every activity they could dream of: swimming, soccer, hockey, baseball and dance, so there is no money or time for mom to work on her own health.  The kids are eating lunch but mom doesn’t even sit down as she cleans up from this meal and preps for the next. 

 

We could go on and on here.  The point is- not only are you not taking care of yourself, you are missing out on teaching your children a valuable lesson. 

 

Every person is important.   EVERY PERSON.  Moms included. 

 

My heart goes out to all of those who are dealing with heartache caused by someone thinking they and their beliefs are more important than another human life.  Please know I see you and I am hurting for you.  And I am planning my workout for tomorrow right now to show my kids that every single person is important.  As my children get older the conversations about difficult times such as these will change.  I will tell them more and shelter them less.  But my message will be the same.  You are important.  I am important.  We are all important.